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Do Skin Tightening Treatments Really Work?


Nonsurgical skin tightening procedures are cosmetic treatments to change the look of your face and your stomach. These procedures are far less invasive than surgical options, like facelifts and tummy tucks, and some people claim they can produce similar results. There are also fewer complication risks, it’s less expensive, and recovery is simple.

These treatments are based on newer technologies. That means that there’s still a gap in research to understand how effective they are, and what the long-term side effects might be.

This article will cover different types of noninvasive skin tightening treatments, what the research says, and things to consider before you try it.

Types of Treatments

When you’re born, your skin is rich with proteins called elastin and collagen. These proteins give your skin structure and elasticity. As you age, your body’s production of these proteins slows down. As a result, your skin starts to lose its elasticity.

Thanks to gravity, pollution exposure, stress, and the hundreds of movements that your facial muscles make every day, your skin might start to appear stretched or saggy. Other factors, such as pregnancy and weight loss, can also contribute to stretch marks and sagging skin.

Nonsurgical skin tightening treatments target areas of your skin that have become loose and stimulate collagen production underneath that skin. The two main types of treatment are:

  • in-office procedures performed by a trained provider
  • at-home devices you can use to give yourself treatment

In Office Procedures

Radiofrequency (Thermalift, Thermage, and Exilis)

Thermalift was the first technology to use the concept of “waking up” or restoring lost collagen. Thermalift uses a device to apply controlled radio waves to the area of your skin that you would like to tighten. The procedure is done with topical or no anesthesia, and no recovery time is required.

Thermage requires one treatment session, but some people benefit from multiple sessions. Other types of radiofrequency treatment usually require multiple sessions to see results. Whether you get one treatment or several, results are only slightly noticeable right away, and typically take 4 months to take full effect.

Intense pulsed light/radiofrequency (Velashape)

Velashape is a device that claims to target and shrink fat cells. It uses a handheld device to send infrared waves into your skin layers to break apart fat deposits.

Radiofrequency waves are also used. This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia. Several appointments are usually recommended to get the most visible results.

 

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